Boston's sudden change in snow policy

Boston school in the snow shortly before 8 a.m. Photo by Jean-Marie Lovett.Mozart School in Roslindale in the snow shortly before 8 a.m. Photo by Jean-Marie Lovett.

For the past few years, Boston's erred on the side of caution when it comes to snow. But today, BPS decided school must go on. Grr. I'm typing this at the Blue Star in Roslindale Square, where I stopped for breakfast after running the kidlet up to Forest Hills for her bus to school, since there's no way I'm getting back up our hill, which we slalomed down on the way to Forest Hills. Even Hyde Park Avenue was a mess.

UPDATE: At noon, BPS announced that any kids who missed school today would get an automatic excused absence. No word if kids who did make it in will get a gold star or something.



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      Chicken Littleism

      The reason for the sudden about face is that so many days have already been cancelled due to Chicken Littleism when a few flakes of snow are predicted, that they now would have to start being made up by cancelling April vacation or extending the school year. Besides, today's moderate storm is not the type of storm that would have caused a school closure back when I was in school. People may pause here for a "harumph" if they wish, but it's true.

      Very weird decision.

      Or non-decision, as it may be. I don't get it--it's not like it didn't snow all day yesterday...or like it isn't predicted to snow all day today. Dismissal is going to be a mess. And it sounds as if a lot of teachers decided--wisely--to stay home.

      OK, so I'm not crazy...

      ...for thinking, as I franticly dug the car out this morning, that Boston would normally have closed schools and declared a snow emergency at the first hint of something like this.

      At least this time around there was evidence that plows had actually been on my street overnight!


      Don't worry, if there is a lot of flack about this, Menino will promise the public that he wasn't satisfied with the decision and that he is looking for answers. Then he'll go look for something else to put his name on.

      Doesn't make any sense. I

      Doesn't make any sense. I kept my BPS'er home. I was watching the school bus that picks up at my corner try to make the was scary, the whole back of the bus was fishtailing. Dumb decision by the superintendent and mayor dummy. We'll be homeschooling today. I would love to see the # of absences, both students and teachers today.

      We didn't take our BPSer to

      We didn't take our BPSer to school today, but - open schools mean our employers expect us to be at work, mean our backup snow day care option is not available. An official closure would really help us out here.

      I thought the closures for Nemo were a tad ridiculous - we should NOT have needed three days of school closure for that storm! - but not closing today is putting students at risk.


      Yeah, as long as it's not excessive, you can keep them home. But a lot of people have jobs that aren't professional-level and they can't just stay home with their kid if school isn't closed (or even if it is -- that's why they open up community centers on snow days for kids to spend the day).

      Um, work?

      I could have taken the day off of work or I could have left 10 minutes earlier to get my kid to school. My kid was eager to actually go to school so yeah, I drove them in. What's the big deal?

      In the time it took us to

      In the time it took us to shovel our sidewalk and driveway and start getting our car cleared, we watched three spinouts on the street. That's why we stayed home, and why I'm not thrilled about busses full of kids on the road today.

      Various reasons

      See the other comments about employers' expectations, but speaking for myself, I tend to feel that if school is open, my kids should be there. I don't take them out for the sake of vacation timing, I don't take them out because I judge the weather to be difficult. But at the same time, I think BPS made the wrong call here.

      Bone-headed decision. 300 of

      Bone-headed decision. 300 of 500 kids absent at my BPS school today. Parents have more sense than all the administrators at Court St. and City Hall combined. But, absenteeisms will count as "constructively present". Great.

      Same thing in Arlington. Did

      Same thing in Arlington. Did I miss a memo that this wasn't really going to be a big storm? Or that it was all going to be over before dawn? Three main streets near my house (including Park Ave) looked like they hadn't been touched by a plow when I left this morning a little after 8.

      BPS really messed up on this

      BPS really messed up on this decision to open schools today. Sidewalks aren't clear and the city hasn't plowed streets. I kept the kids home because our street wasn't plowed (again!). Did Carole and Tom actually communicate at all on this? Or check the forecast?

      I'm guessing you weren't driving anywhere near Roslindale

      Or Forest Hills.

      The roads around here were just awful. Secondary roads hadn't been plowed since last night (when we had three sand/salt trucks come by in the span of a couple of hours, at least on our street) and because the snow was coming down so heavily, even the main roads were in tough shape (Hyde Park Ave. worse than Washington Street for some reason, maybe because it's two lanes?).

      Around 8 p.m., when I left the Blue Star restaurant in Roslindale Square, inbound traffic on Washington was backed up to Metropolitan Avenue - which is bad even for Washington Street in the morning.

      I was at the Blue Star because, well, see the original post. As expected, I could not get up our hill, although part of this was my own damn fault - I've been meaning to bring the car in for new tires for awhile now ...

      Now I'm off to shovel out two spaces: The one where I finally left the car, at the bottom of the hill, and the one in front of our house where I'll park it, assuming I can finally get the car up the hill.

      today is essentially a BPS snow day

      As I dug out my car and measured 13 inches in the backyard...I wondered what BPS was thinking. My conclusion is that what BPS is doing is avoiding burning another day with the expectation that at least half the parents and teachers will not show up. I expect, for the kids who show up today, they will find a very empty school.

      My car just got stuck in the

      My car just got stuck in the driveway. This means that I won't be able to drive it to pick up my kindergartener at school this afternoon. Since my husband is traveling this afternoon, he is leaving the office now, walking to her school and then bringing her home on the subway. He will then have to take the T back so work.

      If I can't get out of my driveway, I cannot imagine that there won't be problems with buses getting around the city. And it's still coming down hard with hours left before the trip home. I hope everyone gets home safely. I'm wishing I hadn't sent my five-year-old out in this.

      My other child is a 3 year

      My other child is a 3 year old with severe asthma and the walk to the subway is 1/2 mile away, so that is not an option. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who either had difficulty getting their kids to school or will have difficulty picking them up. If its going to be problematic for a majority of the kids to get to school, not to mention unsafe, it should be cancelled. I hope they get the roads cleared and get the kids home safely without nightmare stories of kids stuck on buses for hours.

      I can't believe

      they had school. Our ski slope/street was unplowed when we left for Forest Hills; HP Ave. was indeed a mess -- cars sliding all over; I nearly wiped out a few times. Practically begged my kid to stay home, but he wouldn't... And here it is, 11:20 a.m., and it's still coming down...

      From the BPS Twitter feed

      So this is code for "We know we made a bad decision, sorry for the screw-up," right?

      BostonPublicSchools ‏@BostonSchools
      Parents: If you decided to keep your child home today that's okay. We will mark all absences as excused today. #bosnow

      Should have been cancelled

      I work as a custodian for BPS and it was a huge mistake having school today. First off they had us come in two hours early at 4am, anything that got accomplished at my school between that time and school opening was minimal, the snow was coming down too fast. As soon as I was done it was back to the beginning.

      The neighbors didn't appreciate the snow blower running so early, I wouldn't had either if I lived in the area. One even called the city to say I was dumping snow on the street, couldn't have been further from the truth. It all went on school property.

      At around 5am the plows came through the parking lots (the only time all day) and since there is residence parking in the lot till 7am the only area that was plowed was the middle. Which lead to numerous staff and parents getting stuck.

      Inside the building was a ghost town, most of the staff showed up, but most of the students did not. It would have been even less if there wasn't a big play going on this weekend.

      At the end of the long day the school buses were completely blocking streets off due to no where to pull over and as I left I saw a dozen teachers trying to dig their cars out of an unplowed lot.

      Custodians get blamed for everything

      I'm surprised the custodians didn't get blamed for not calling off school.
      When everyone else in the City gets to go home early because of inclement weather, the custodians are expected to stay.
      Do you remember a few years ago when the Mayor wanted to privatize custodial services in the Schools? Can you imagine what would happen when it snows?

      Work in a Charter school with

      Work in a Charter school with about 300 students, we had about 50 yesterday (maybe less) and not enough teachers to run the school. None of the sidewalks or streets I had to walk down were clear aside from in front of the school where out miracle worker custodian cleaned up better than anywhere else in Roxbury.
      During the last school cancellations I was out walking around for both Monday and Tuesday without feeling like I or anyone else was in danger. Yesterday was complete madness